Artist: Elmer Guevara & Robert Nehemiah
Media: Drawing and Painting
Gallery: Gatov West
Each painting is named after the one whose portrait was painted. However, the relationship with the people drawn are very different for BFA students, Elmer and Robert. In Elmer’s case, I learned he mostly painted homeless people and got to know them before he painted them. From the information he received from them he incorporated their characteristics into his art, which he describes as “fragmentations.” In Roberts case, he painted portraits of people who played important roles in his life. Unlike Elmer’s abstract fragmentation portraits, Roberts portraits were more traditional. However, they were not painted on traditional surface.
On the portraits painted by Robert, he used cardboard as a base for his paintings. My favorite was the “Portrait of a Grandmother.” There was so much detail and emotion captured on her face. I was impressed by this painting, but even more impressed that it was painted on cardboard which is not a widely used canvas. I learned from Robert that the paint gets soaked into the cardboard making it harder to paint the portrait.
Both Elmer and Robert expressed that what they enjoy from art is the exploration of it. Rather than focusing, or worrying where their art will lead them to next, they are focused on breaking out of the traditional art education they were taught. They are now going out into the world where there are exploring their techniques, styles, and interests.
I really enjoyed Robert and Elmer’s gallery. What I found to be most impacting was Roberts explanation for the cardboard canvases. While explaining his use of cardboard he mentioned he paints on materials not meant to last forever. This stood out to me because the reality of life is that the nothing lasts forever so to see him express that in his paintings was captivating.